How to Check If Your Facebook Data Has Been Breached

Facebook faced immense backlash as the company announced 30 million personal accounts had been compromised in its most recent data breach back in September. Users’ contact and address information were all accessed during the breach, along with other sensitive data such as a user’s 15 most recent searches.

Facebook’s Help Center can assist users in figuring out if their account was hit by the breach.

Use these steps to find out how:

  1. On the top right corner of your Facebook account, click on the “?” icon to access  Help Center. You can also click the link below:

  1. Search “security incident” in the search box above.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the section marked: “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”
  3. This section will provide a “yes” or “no” answer to its users. The message will also show up on users’ news feeds.

  1. If No, there is no action needed to be taken at this time.
  2. If Yes, you will be in one of these categories:
  • You’re one of the 15 million users’ whose name and phone/email has been stolen.
  • You’re one of the 14 million users’ whose account got breached with getting access to your “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places you’ve checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages you follow, and the 15 most recent searches.”
  • You’re in the 1 million users whose access token got stolen, but luckily no information has been breached. 

If your data was accessed from this breach, there is no need to change your password or credit card information at this time. Furthermore, keep an eye out for scam calls and spam emails that ask for your personal information such as the login credentials for signing into your accounts. If you were in the 14 million within Group B, it’s best to call your bank or phone carrier to input a pin code to prevent hackers from essentially pretending to be you in order to access your accounts.

After such a massive data breach, should we really trust Facebook as a safe space to continue sharing with our loved ones?


YouTube Advertisers Will Soon Have New Action Buttons for Their Ads

As one of the biggest digital marketing platforms, YouTube began integrating its video platform with other Google Services. It is now testing an extension that will allow viewers to take action via TrueView-in-stream Ads. With this extension, viewers can take action on an ad they see instead of just clicking on it. After testing the extensions, the company creating the ads will be able to add location elements or forms to their ads to get their targeted audience to sign up for the service or just submit their email for future updates.

YouTube has mentioned that early testers of this extension were Chili’s, 20th Century Fox, Headspace, and Maybelline, and more companies will likely sign up soon.YouTube will now allow advertisers to choose other action methods for the ads shown, such as providing the download option for an app, the link to book a trip while watching a vacation ad, or the link to purchase a movie ticket while watching a trailer. So far, the ads have proven to be successful, as one of YouTube’s early testers, Vodafone, had a 3.5 percent increase in click-through rate and 2.3x incremental increase in ad recall.

As Abner Li explains in his article from 9to5Google:

“YouTube is adding Brand Lift studies to Google Ads or Display & Video 360, the company’s recently announced merger and simplification of its advertising products.”

Google goes into detail about their metrics for the ad campaigns:

Additionally, we’ve introduced two new metrics: lifted users, the number of people who were influenced by your ad, and cost-per-lifted-user to make it easier for you to optimize your campaign’s effectiveness and cost-efficiency.

We’re also ramping up our investments in Google Measurement Partners to ensure our advertisers can measure YouTube media with measurement solutions that meet rigorous, verified standards. We work closely with partners to ensure their solutions respect user privacy.”

CPG advertisers can use can use third-party market research firms to access and evaluate data on ad performance.

Users tend to click on the “SKIP AD” button let alone take any action. This feature is not only good for the audience, but it’s highly important for advertisers wondering if viewers are interested enough to take action and press on a link to purchase shoes when seeing an ad, for example.

Companies can drive more than just increased brand awareness which is why advertisers turn to YouTube. The ads on YouTube offer more than just a click to the company website or other social platforms. YouTube wants to expand and provide more performance metrics to advertisers.

It’s still not decided when Google will roll out the new extension to other companies, but you can check out this article for more updates.

Trump Asks Apple to Start Producing in the US to Avoid Being Hit by Tariffs

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 “The more we make things in America, the stronger America becomes,that’s why we will always live by two crucial rules – buy American and hire American.” This is the statement Trump made in the Made in America Showcase. Trump began pointing out companies that should move their manufacturing process from China to the U.S. Since this week, Apple has announced the rise of taxes on certain Apple products such as the Apple Pencil and Apple Watch which are not manufactured in the U.S. If the manufacturing plant move to the U.S. fails, Apple products made in China will become more expensive than it is right now. Trump suggested this in the following tweet made on Saturday:

Later, Apple asked Foxconn and Pegatron – two manufacturing partners producing Apple products – to come up with a plan and didn’t get any positive response. Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn, has already started their report and has stated that it will be costly to move the whole process to the U.S. The only reason Apple might consider this step would be because President-elect Donald Trump has publically asked to start making iPhones in the U.S. rather than China. Trump enthusiastically said during the rally in March that he will push for Apple computers and phones to become a product of the U.S. Apple has sold nearly 232 Million iPhones in 2015, and with further sales to come, Trump believes this move will “make America great again.”

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, promised Trump they will build “Three big plants, beautiful plants” in the U.S. As stated in this article, last year they spent one billion on the glass used in screens for the iPhones. Due to such plans to build the plants, more workers are said to be hired, and greater investments are to be made for domestic manufacturing promotion. Foxconn, an Apple supplier, has already established a U.S. headquarter in Wisconsin for producing LCD panels which will create 3,000 employment opportunities in the company. According to Nick Statt from TheVerge, “Foxconn plans to spend $10 billion over the course of the next three years on the 20,000-square-foot plant. Even after moving their manufacturing process to the U.S., Apple products still won’t get any cheaper. Since China is huge on manufacturing tech products for cheap, moving will not be much of a benefit in any way since manufacturing will be more costly in the U.S. In China, the production of an iPhone costs roughly $190 per phone, but in the U.S., the price sets at around $600 –  a huge difference. Trade lawyer Scott has already predicted that the price of iPhones will be more expensive than before due to the high cost of production in the U.S.

T-Mobile Has Revealed Data Breach of 2 million Customers

The company says that passwords may have also been revealed, only through an encrypted form not [compromised].

In a statement to consumers on Thursday evening, T-Mobile announced a new data breach that allowed hackers to access more than 2 million people’s personal information such as their name, number, address, accounting number, and account type. Credit card information was not accessed during the breach. T-Mobile’s representative spoke out to Motherboard to explain how “[a]round 3 percent of [the company’s] 77 million customers…may have been affected” (Sean Keane, CNET). A text message was sent to all customers affected by the breach.

It was later discovered that “encrypted passwords” were also exposed in the data breach, as explained by a spokesperson from T-Mobile.John Legere T-Mobile’s CEO mentioned in a tweet that “it’s always a good idea to regularly change account passwords.”

As this article from CNET explains:

        “The company says that hackers couldn’t actually read them — since they were encrypted — but Motherboard says that a pair of security researchers believe T-Mobile used the MD5 algorithm to protect them, a protection scheme whose own author declared it “no longer considered safe” back in 2012. However, T-Mobile wouldn’t confirm whether it used MD5 or not.“.

T-Mobile had experienced another cybersecurity issue back in May when researchers noticed that customers’ personal data could easily be retrieved through means of using their phone number. Meanwhile, the company is working to improve its quality of service for its customers.

The original article from CNET (as referenced in this post) can be found here.


Facebook Messenger Video Chat Now Includes AR Games for Users


Everyday, Facebook is growing and developing new and more advanced games to keep the users entertained. The team has just come up with a multiplayer augmented reality video chat game which is similar to the snapchat’s version. You can play these games with up to six people.

TechCrunch goes into more detail about what Messenger games consist of:

“‘Don’t Smile’” is like a staring contest that detects if you grin, and then uses AR to contort your face into an exaggerated Joker’s smirk while awarding your opponent the win. “Asteroids Attack” sees you move your face around to navigate a spaceship, avoiding rocks and grabbing laser beam power-ups. Soon, Facebook also plans to launch “Beach Bump” for passing an AR ball back and forth, and a “Kitten Craze” cat matching game. To play the games, you start a video chat, hit the start button to open the filter menu, and then select one of the games. You can snap and share screenshots to your chat thread while you play.”

The games are just a great way of bypassing time while video chatting rather than playing them alone on your downtime. This could be a great bonding strategy between parents and kids who are away from each other.

Facebook has mentioned that these games have been built by itself using the AR Studio tool which launched last year to let developers create their own AR face filters.

Also, when asked if game development will be available to everyone, a  spokesperson said, “Not today, but we’ve seen successful short-session AR games developed by the creator community and are always looking out for ways to bring the best AR content to the FB family of apps.”

For now, there won’t be any advertisements, nor sponsored branding. Facebook can easily show ads between game rounds, and let brands promote themselves or let you upgrade the game and beat their friends.

How are the Facebook games different then the Snapchat games? Snapchat has been focusing on taking over your whole screen with AR, which can transport you to a disco hall or even outer space. Facebook games have been more popular and designed for split-screen multiplayer.

Over the past years, Facebook has rarely developed any of its games. It did build a few games here and there like an arcade pop-a-shot style basketball game and a soccer game to show off what the messenger instant games platform can look like in the future, but originally, the company wants outside developers to work on them.

Now, Facebook messenger is looking for ways to keep users entertained by having one-on-one utility chats, fun group chats, video calling, and gaming that can get people to spend more time on the app.


Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Your Identity by Simply Scanning Your Eyes

You can really tell a lot by just looking into someone’s eyes.

According to a study involving Artificial Intelligence done between the University of South Australia and the University of Stuttgart, this will be the first time ever that personality traits can be identified using your eye movements, as the algorithm software reliably recognizes four of the Big Five personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The goal is to improve human and robot interactions at some point near the future more natural and be better at interpreting human social signals.

Machine-learning calculations algorithms interfaces between eye developments and four of the enormous five identity qualities.

“Eye movements are also a window into our mind and a rich source of information on who we are, how we feel and what we do,” the study stated.

By giving credit to their machine-learning approach, not only did they validate the role of personality in explaining eye movement in everyday life, but they also uncovered new eye movement techniques to find out ones’ personality traits.

This project had an artificial intelligence machine track and monitor the eye movement of almost 42 human volunteers using a video-based-eye-tracker from a sensomotoric instrument.

That’s where the machine-learning techniques came in: The artificial intelligence interpreted information such as blink rate, blink duration, dwelling time on an object and visual heat maps to make guesses about an individual’s traits. Then, to confirm the AI’s guesswork, researchers had study participants take personality questionnaires that are already well-known in the research community

“This research provides opportunities to develop robots and computers so that they can become more natural, and better at interpreting human social signals.”

In a world where companies and labs are working hard on humanoid hospital nurses — or even sex robots — it’s easy to see where this kind of technology could be used. Imagine a robotic hospital worker adjusting its approach to treatment depending on what it infers about a patient’s personality — or a personal assistant device that learns not to set off our neurotic side.

In the end, scientists found that the AI was able to make reliable guesses about such traits as neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Not only does it demonstrate that AI can possibly read us like books, yet it demonstrates that our eyes could really be entryways to our souls.

You can read more about this new technique here.


Data Transfer Project Will Soon Be Available between Apps like Google, Facebook and More

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have all teamed up and announced the new data transfer project (DTP). As Google described it, we can now transfer data directly from one service to another, without having to download the other provider and re-upload our data. This can be done in a lot more ways, but participants just hope that this process will prove to be much faster and flexible for the users.

This process can force companies to compete on utility instead of being protected by data lock-in that traps the users because of how tough it is to switch services.

As the TechCrunch article mentions:

“From porting playlists in music streaming services to health data from fitness trackers to our reams of photos and videos, the DTP could be a boon for startups. Incumbent tech giants maintain a huge advantage in popularizing new functionality because they instantly interoperate with a user’s existing data rather than making them start from scratch. Even if a social networking startup builds a better location sharing feature, personalized avatar, or payment system, it might be a lot easier to use Facebook’s clone of it because that’s where your profile, friends, and photos live.”

With such tech giants cooperating together, the DTP can actually instigate users to put new apps into use. Meanwhile, the companies argue that the government shouldn’t regulate them or break them up because DTP means users are free to choose whichever app that they desire. Federal regulation could potentially slow down the DTP and restrict users from easy access to data across multiple platforms.


To view the original article, click here.





Ransom Demand Scam Tricks Users by Using Real Passwords in Emails

Have you heard about the new ransom demand sextortion scam? Cybercriminals have implemented a new method of false blackmail to scare users into paying bitcoin.

The email reads:

I’m aware that X is your password.

You don’t know me and you’re thinking why you received this email, right?

Well, I actually placed a malware on the porn website and guess what, you visited this website to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching the video, your web browser acted as an RDP (Remote Desktop) and a keylogger which provided me access to your display screen and webcam. Right after that, my software gathered all your contacts from your Messenger,  Facebook account, and email account.

What exactly did I do?

I made a split-screen video. First part recorded the video you were viewing (you’ve got a fine taste haha), and next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!).

What should you do?

Well, I believe, $1400 will be a fair price to pay so your secrets stay safe with me. You’ll make the payment via Bitcoin to the below address (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).

BTC Address: 1Dvd7Wb72JBTbAcfTrxSJCZZuf4tsT8V72

(It is cAsE sensitive, so copy and paste it)


You have 24 hours in order to make the payment. (I have a unique pixel within this email message, and right now I know that you have read this email). If I don’t get the payment, I will send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, co-workers, and so forth. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will erase the video immediately. If you want evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will send your video recording to your 5 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so don’t waste my time and yours by replying to this email.

To be clear, there is a slim chance that anyone has recorded a video of you, therefore making this email a scam. With that said, hackers are able to make emails such as this so convincing nowadays by implementing new strategies like using your real password (most probably accessed through corporate data breaches within the last few years).

This has really changed the cyber-blackmailing game, but luckily hackers don’t have access to current passwords.

“[A]ll three recipients said the password was close to ten years old, and that none of the passwords cited in the sextortion email they received had been used anytime on their current computers,” explained researcher Brian Krebs, thereby making the stolen passwords old and outdated.

While sextortion scams like this have endeavored for a considerable length of time, there are no reports of any cybercriminals utilizing this strategy and really introducing malware to film somebody pleasuring themselves while watching porn. It’s substantially less demanding to simply lie about it and persuade individuals that it’s true.

To be safe from hackers, you can cover your webcam when not in use and change your passwords regularly to prevent any cybercriminals from accessing your login credentials. To be on the safe side, you can also set up two-factor authorization and secure logins.

To read more about this click here.

Sydney Airport’s Passport Facial Recognition Trial Soon to Take Flight

Sydney’s airport Thursday announced its start of using facial recognition technology in an effort to get the lines moving faster. This new technology is going to speed up check-in, bag drop, access to the lounge area and plane boarding. Australia’s current system, smartgate, is already using the face scanning technology, and it’s slowly expanding to other countries.

“Your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process,” Geoff Culbert, Sydney airport CEO, explained in a statement, suggesting that in the future you will no longer have to carry your passport while traveling, because it will be there, already on your face.

Vanessa Hudson, Qantas chief customer officer, spoke about the need for airlines to offer “faster and more convenient airport experiences”, stating that Qantas is “excited to see what results the trial produces.”

Lounge staff will also have access to the trial, enabling them to “create a more personalized experience when passengers arrive,” Hudson said.

While we might not be ready for such change in Australia, we keep pushing towards our preference for convenience over security. If the trials are a success, it starts to prepare us for biometrics to become integrated further into our daily routines — from unlocking our smartphones to the way we get access to our bank accounts.

On Thursday, London Metropolitan Police stated it wouldn’t be giving up on its facial recognition technology, even though there have been many issues with matching people’s faces 98% percent of the time.

With those false recognition results, we doubt the passports will not be needed while traveling, but for now, the technology trials sound promising.

For more information, visit the original article here.

Secret Service Warns of Gas Pump Skimmers This Holiday

Are you planning to get away for the Fourth of July? U.S. Secret Service has warned the public to watch out when using your credit card at the gas stations this holiday.

According to AAA, it’s going to be the busiest and craziest Fourth of July holiday in history. That’s why Secret Service agents from all of their 36 offices will be locating and recovering skimming devices from gas stations in 21 states during the holiday.

Skimmers are devices that detect and retrieve credit card information for the purpose of fraudulent activities. Gas stations are the number one target on prime holidays.

“Because today’s gas pumps are typically unattended, developing suspects and making arrests in skimming cases is difficult – but not impossible,” the agency said in a statement.

The team has recovered more than 70 skimmers when they researched and ran a campaign for the memorial day this year.

Credit card thieves are getting smarter with their strategies, and even experts may be fooled. But there is still a way to catch them.

Read here for tips on how to stay safe this Fourth of July holiday.